Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by William Stephens
Motorcycle Grand Prix racing returns to Argentina this weekend for the third round of the 2022 world championship. MotoGP last raced at the Autodromo Termas De Rio Hondo in 2019 and this year's return will mark the seventh time Grand Prix racing has graced the circuit.
The 2.98 miles of fast sweeping corners, most of them to the right, dips, crests and a one kilometre long straight are set to provide the perfect battlefield for our modern day gladiators. Rear tyre wear will also be a factor in the race so tyre strategy and taming of a 300 horsepower beast for the entire duration of the race will also be a factor.
The Argentine Grand Prix has been won a maximum number of three times, a record held jointly by a high calibre of riders including its most recent winner, Marc Marquez. Marquez will unfortunately miss the Argentine Grand Prix due to injury sustained during Qualifying at the previous round in Indonesia. The 8 times world champion will be replaced by Honda reserve rider Stefan Bradl.
Although it's only just the third round of the Championship, storylines, twists and turns have already taken shape throughout the grid. Enea Bastianini enters the round atop the Championship standings. "The Beast" has made it clear that despite being on outdated machinery on a satellite team his target is to contest for the world championship. Should he be successful he would join Valentino Rossi who remains the only rider to win a premier class title on a satellite team.
Rossi's own Mooney VR46 team have had a rocky start to the Argentine round. As a result of delayed flights their entire freight is yet to arrive in Argentina. Other teams also affected by a similar problem are the factory Ducati team and Gresini Racing.
The freight delay troubles perhaps best exemplify Ducati's start to the 2022 campaign. Coming into the season as title favourites the Ducai Lenovo Team currently sits eighth in the team standings with their expected leading talisman Francesco Bagnaia only managing a singular point so far. Having challenged for the title last year it is safe to say the Bologna bullets have their work cut out for them.
It's not all doom and gloom at Ducati though as Johann Zarco secured a podium last time out at Mandalika. The Pramac rider is currently fifth in the standings and only six points behind Bastianini. Above him is last race winner Miguel Oliveira, last season's Champion Fabio Quartararo in third and Brad Binder in second just two points behind "The Beast".
It has been a great start to the season for the KTMs with two podiums in two races and a lead in both the Manufacturer's and Team's Championships. Also having a great start to the season is the unlikely rookie sensation Darryn Binder. Managing a top ten finish in his first wet weather race in MotoGP Darryn Binder comes to Argentina as the leading rookie. Remy Gardner and the other first timers enter the third round with some catching up to do.